England fans were sent into raptures by half time as England scored two quick goals before the break in their crunch World Cup knockout games with Senegal.
Three Lions supporters admitted there were nerves ahead of kick off as they were greeted by a carnival atmosphere of dancing Senegalese fans ahead of their crunch World Cup knockout game.
Despite a cagey opening 30 minutes, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson calmed any England fears before Harry Kane’s goal on the stroke of half time saw beers thrown to the skies at fan parks across the nation.
At the Boxpark in Croydon, south London, fans, some wearing Santa hats, burst out into roars of ‘I’m England ’til I die’ after Henderson’s opener.
Some predicted an ‘easy’ win for the Three Lions in the round of 16 tie on Sunday, while others thought it would be a ‘tough’ match.
The tension amongst the regulars at The Eastney Tavern in Southsea, Hampshire, was broken by loud cheers with friends hugging each other at the bar as England scored their first goal.
Regular Joel said: ‘Thank goodness for that, I was expecting lots of goals, let’s hope for some more.’
And after the second goal just before half time, he added: ‘Here we go.’
At the Cabana Hop Garden in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Doha, some England supporters said their side should have ‘too much’ for the African nation, with one adding: ‘I don’t think there’s anyone to fear’.
Hayden Smith, 27, from Essex, said: ‘I’m really nervous for the game, I want to get it done, get through to the quarters and beat France as well.’
Joe Parker, 26, also from Essex, who was enjoying a drink with Mr Smith ahead of the match, was more cautious, saying: ‘He thinks 4-0 but I think it’ll go to penalties… I’d be very nervous at that point.’
Spurs fan Mr Smith added: ‘(Harry) Kane hat-trick, watch, he’ll score tonight – everyone is slagging him off but he’s going to get a goal tonight – easy 3-0, 4-0.’
On Senegal, Mr Smith said: ‘I know they’re the champions of Africa but I watched them in the Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) and the group and I don’t think they’re all that, I think we’ll be fine.
‘If we don’t beat them we don’t deserve to go through – what chance have we got against France if we struggle tonight?’
On England’s chances for the rest of the World Cup, the pair both said ‘I think we’re going to win it’.
Friends Tom Egerton and Tom King, both 31 and from Winchester, were dressed in traditional Arab robes as they sampled the atmosphere with other England fans at the Cabana Hop Garden.
Flags from Carlisle to Plymouth and beyond were draped around the venue with a big screen and music playing, including Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Rockin’ All Over the World by Status Quo.
Mr Egerton said: ‘Hopefully Southgate plays positive today and it should be a good game.
‘I reckon it’s going to be 2-1 (to England).’
Mr King, who works in construction, said ‘it’s coming home’ when asked about England and predicted a 3-1 win against Senegal.
Asked about their outfits, the pair said they had been inspired to wear the robes and headdresses after seeing other fans wear them at the Wales game.
Adam Close, 29, from Newcastle, and Ben Fox, 29, from Leeds, have been in Qatar for a week staying in a fan village and will return home after the Senegal game but consider returning if England reach the World Cup semi-finals.
The pair both predicted an England win, with tech sales worker Mr Close telling PA: ‘It’s not going to be a walk in the park but we should have too much for them.
‘In international football, you saw last night with the Netherlands that if you get an early goal in the first 10-15 minutes you’re killing the games off, you can control the possession.
‘You saw it a bit against Wales when you don’t get a goal, we held possession enough but the fans start getting a bit lairy, they’re not moving it as quickly as you’d like so get a goal in that first 10-15 minutes I think will be good.’
Mr Fox, who works in recruitment, said of England’s World Cup hopes: ‘All the way, I don’t think there’s anyone to fear.’
On the pair’s travel plans, Mr Close said: ‘If we beat Senegal, beat France and I think that’s where we’ll be looking at tickets back out for the semis and final.’
Laughing, he added: ‘If we beat France we’re probably going to be a shoo-in.’
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